Virtual Women Filmmakers Festival: Conversation with Cecilia Vicuña

  • Lessons from Environmental Histories

    On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) hosted a virtual conversation with renowned Chilean American artist Cecilia Vicuña. Learn more about the filmmaker’s compelling video artwork, which explores the deep histories, coastal traditions, and the ecology of her homeland of Chile. Vicuña is joined in conversation by Amalia Cordova, Latino curator for digital and emerging media at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and Saisha Grayson, time-based media curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This program discusses two of Vicuña’s short video artworks, Semiya/ Seed Song (2015) and Un nudo vivo/ A Living Knot (2017), which feature artistic rituals for healing human-environment relations, and her longer film Kon Kon (2010), which weaves together South American Indigenous wisdom, environmental and colonial histories, and the artist’s biography. All film clips have been removed from this event recording.

    This program is part of the SAAM’s third annual Virtual Women Filmmakers Festival. Presented completely online, the festival ran from March 1-21, 2021, in honor of Women’s History Month and is supported by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story. Organized around the theme of “Her History Lessons,” the festival’s featured artists are Cecelia Vicuña, Coco Fusco, and Mariam Ghani. Each artist creates works that look to the past for insights into today's urgent issues. Considering the momentous events of 2020, the selected videos reflect on colonial histories and the growing climate crisis; legacies of artists, activists, and state repression; and more than a century of pandemics tied to social upheavals.

    This program is made possible by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story, and is co-presented with the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.